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“I just knew I’d been playing earth-bound, emotional characters and this was entirely different and I’m always greedy for new experiences.The Wizard of Oz was the first film I remember seeing and I was really, really scared, but then fairytales are supposed to help children explore the concepts of good and evil, even if they are peeping out from behind a chair in terror.” The film takes its inspiration from the Oz novels by L Frank Baum, and envisions how it came to be that the wizard – a trickster who ruled by smoke, mirrors and prestidigitation – rose to power.But you know, as soon as I heard Rachel Weisz was in this whizz-bang big budget 3D prequel, I instantly knew it would be top-notch. Because Weisz, 42, the Cambridge graduate with the glossy, swishy A-list hair and the slow, full-lipped smile is the unofficial kite mark of quality on any movie.

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They courted quietly and married in secrecy in 2011 and it says a lot for the esteem in which Weisz is held that not a soul begrudged her bagging James Bond. “In America there’s wildlife that can kill you,” she says.

They are occasionally caught by the paparazzi walking along, looking as ordinary as an off-duty 007 and an Oscar-winner (Best Supporting Actress for her extraordinary turn in The Constant Gardener) can look in jeans and coats and boots. “Just 90 minutes outside New York there are poisonous snakes and bears; in the hiking shops you can buy bear bells, so the bears can hear you coming – you really don’t want to surprise one of those.” And what about when a photographer looms up when she’s on the school run or pokes a lens where it’s not wanted when she and her husband are minding their own business on their way to dinner?

The effects are stunning, and while younger children might take fright at the computer-generated combat scenes, there are moments of tenderness – and, of course, lots of witches’ familiars.

“I’d like to say that imagining there are 100,000 wingèd baboons flying towards you is incredibly hard, but it’s actually very easy,” says Weisz, beaming at the ridiculousness of it. ” Unlike many of her peers, Weisz refuses to worry that she may come up against the Hollywood prejudice against older actresses.

Please don’t tell Walt, but Disney’s forthcoming blockbuster, Oz: The Great and Powerful isn’t really the sort of film I’d voluntarily go and see.